Bob Amster

Principal, Retail Technology Group

Mr. Amster has served the retail and distribution industries as both a Consultant and Systems Manager since 1971. He currently heads The Retail Technology Group, an independent consulting firm.

Bob was a Senior Manager with the Northeast Retail Consulting Group of Ernst & Young. Prior to joining Ernst & Young, Mr. Amster held Systems Management positions for large retailers such as Kmart Apparel, Waldenbooks, and Caldor. In addition, he has consulted to retail, distribution, and software companies since 1985.

Bob’s hands-on experience encompasses strategic planning; operational reviews; and systems design and implementation. He specializes in needs assessments; software analyses, selection and implementation; operational procedures and process improvement; and systems integration. His project experience includes numerous engagements in the evaluation, selection and implementation of merchandising, financial, warehouse and store systems packages.

Additionally, Bob has served as interim head of IT for Barneys New York and Shane Company, and as interim head of the Store Systems Group for Savers, Inc.

Bob also has provided due diligence assistance to a number of private equity firms and has served the advisory board of retailers and of a number of e-commerce merchants, to whom he provided retail industry perspective.

  • Posted on: 03/03/2021

    Will a third-party marketplace step up and give Amazon a run for its money?

    Excellent question which I cannot answer because I do not know the numbers, but probably not...
  • Posted on: 03/03/2021

    Will seniors trust CVS to keep them safe with in-home IoT?

    CVS and others will succeed with half of the senior population. However they could be more successful with expanding their services to a larger population than just seniors.
  • Posted on: 03/03/2021

    Will a third-party marketplace step up and give Amazon a run for its money?

    Forming a brand new marketplace to complete with Amazon is possible but not likely and not advisable. However there is opportunity for retailers to sell through other major retailers' marketplaces, if preferred agreements can be reached. It would take some major problem within Amazon, and a long time, before another similar marketplace could take hold of the online retail marketplace.
  • Posted on: 03/02/2021

    Is off-mall where it’s at?

    Certainly the typical weather of a geographic location will play an important role in making that decision. Whereas off-mall locations appear to be the trend, one cannot ignore the regions of the country that are highly-populated, but experience inclement seasonal weather.
  • Posted on: 03/02/2021

    Are short-term leases here to stay?

    Shorter, more flexible terms should happen. Whether they do or not will be up to the wisdom of the landlords. I have seen too many retail locations lay fallow because of the stubbornness of landlords.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2021

    Automated checkout ‘will be everywhere’ sooner rather than later

    The pandemic has definitely accelerated what was going to be a de facto result anyway. The period of time in which the conversion will be accomplished may be another 10 years. There is an entire, albeit dwindling, demographic of Baby Boomers and older which will not have embraced that technology before they stop shopping for ever. Everyone else coming up behind that generation is well on its way to acceptance, but the total conversion will take a while.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2021

    Do rivals need to follow Costco’s minimum wage lead right now?

    Paying a higher wage gets you a better, happier candidate. The results are reflected not only in higher payroll expenses but in the increased sales and profit from which a capable, happier employee population will result. Those retailers that "get it" will follow. Those that don't will suffer the consequences.
  • Posted on: 02/25/2021

    Are Americans ready to do some good old-fashioned ‘revenge shopping’?

    Revenge shopping will be tempered by the amount of disposable income available. For those who lost their jobs due to lockdowns, shut-downs and other downs, the first priority will be to get reemployed. Then, late in 2021, they may engage in revenge shopping.
  • Posted on: 02/25/2021

    Are Americans ready to do some good old-fashioned ‘revenge shopping’?

    I agree.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2021

    Can making deliveries once a week make e-commerce sustainable and more profitable?

    There is extra handling involved in retailers sending product to a consolidation facility. That costs money and adds to the carbon footprint. Those orders are good for those customers who can wait the extra day(s). The positive impact on the environment is to be applauded.
  • Posted on: 02/23/2021

    Are outlet centers immune to the ills of regional malls?

    Carrying apparel for apparel's sake is no longer a good idea. However carrying upscale apparel of well know brands at reduced prices satisfies those that already purchase those brands at full price and those aspiring customers who some day would like to. Long-term growth is an ominous phrase because it can imply a tendency to overstate the demand for outlet malls. We saw what happened in the last 20 years with that. Are there one hundred potentially profitable Tanger prospect locations? Doubtful.
  • Posted on: 02/23/2021

    What’s so funny about authenticity, integrity and transparency?

    More transparency from many retailers would be a welcome, refreshing approach to doing business. Some, I am sure, believe that one does not air one's dirty laundry and, therefore, would not tell all. On the other side, some skeptical consumers may interpret sharing bad news with consumers as an excuse for higher prices or poorer service. It would be a delicate balance.
  • Posted on: 02/19/2021

    Will 7-Eleven’s beer and wine on tap be a c-store game changer?

    Cathy, I have it on good authority (me) that beer from the tap tastes better than beer from a bottle, which, in turn, tastes better than beer from a can. When the pandemic is over, I will prove it to you...
  • Posted on: 02/19/2021

    Are current supply chain bottlenecks a bigger deal than normal?

    I believe the current supply chain bottlenecks are temporary. Because most of us don't see what happened in foreign manufacturing plants and ports because of COVID-19, we may not realize that those too were severely impacted by this pandemic. Normality will return to the supply chain. Give it time.
  • Posted on: 02/19/2021

    Walmart gives workers a raise and weighs in on the minimum wage debate

    The appearance is that Walmart is making an effort. Whether or not the numbers are what they appear to be, this is a new Walmart. Retailers can't go wrong by treating their employees well. It translates to the way employees treat customers and, consequently, it increases sales and fosters loyalty from customers and from employees.

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